HUMAN TRAFFICKING INSTITUTE
SWLA Human Trafficking Institute
Written by David Duplechian
LCYTC Regional Care Coordinator
Southwest Louisiana has a history of working together on behalf of children and families. The recent partnership between the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Human Trafficking Prevention, the Louisiana Association of Children’s Advocacy Centers, and the Children’s Advocacy Center, and a Division of Family and Youth, draws on that history of working with our local partners to direct attention to the juvenile victims of human trafficking in our area. Two recent events highlight these efforts. On September 19, some 60 people gathered for our first SWLA Human Trafficking Institute. In conjunction with local, state, and federal partners, those in attendance heard from law enforcement, juvenile justice, prosecutors, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, and Dr. Dana Hunter, executive director of the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Human Trafficking Prevention, learning more about the identification, investigation, and prosecution of human trafficking cases and enhancing our ability to work together on these cases.
On September 20, almost 200 people gathered for breakfast to celebrate the kickoff of the Alliance to Fight Human Trafficking in SWLA. This initiative started as a Human Trafficking Task Force, and under the leadership of the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office– along with the participation of other local, state, and federal law enforcement, prosecutors, juvenile justice, local nonprofit service providers, casino’s, other businesses, and concerned citizens– has evolved into a community-wide effort to raise awareness and support local agencies in the fight against Human Trafficking in SWLA.
To date, the Alliance has established a Human Trafficking Tip Line that is answered 24/7 in the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office Real Time Crime Center, is providing signage for local businesses to display in restrooms and other areas where trafficking victims can see them and access help. The Alliance has also given 35 presentations to 1,062 people to raise awareness of human trafficking in SWLA.